‘Twas The Days Before Christmas

December 22nd
The winter solstice that usually takes place on December 21st was marked today because the solar year and our modern calendar don’t always correspond.  Like the Conifer and the dark, dense Pine Grove trails in my favorite arboretum, the solstice always makes me think of the Druids and Stonehenge.  There is an unexplainable magic to them.  This is among my favorite times of the year since even as the longest night signals the deepening winter ahead, the days slowly lengthen and the northern hemisphere begins to tip toward spring.

Today I submitted an article and photographs about my experience as a Bluebird nest box monitor for the forest preserve district volunteer newsletter spring issue.  I was flattered that our district coordinator asked me to write an article after reading my blog posts.

December 23rd
I received a package from the forest preserve district with the 2012 Special Events calendar and another sign of spring – my 2012 volunteer parking permit!  Hooray!

I signed up for my first ever participation in The Cornell Lab of Ornithology “Project FeederWatch” now celebrating its 25th season.  I’ll receive instructions on how to gather data about birds visiting my feeder station and report it around the first of April.  That timing will “dovetail” (honestly, no pun intended) with the beginning of my Bluebird monitor season.  Participating will provide a good excuse to observe the birds outside my window as I sip Russian tea or hot chocolate with the fire going on bitter cold days.  It will be pure luxury … staring at a lovely winter scene while counting birds.

Bird nest Folklore: If you find a bird nest in your Christmas tree, you will have a year of health, wealth and happiness.

Today – Christmas Eve
A lovely, cool and sunny day.  I filled the feeders and added clean water to the heated bird bath that the squirrels appreciated along with the birds.  I hung the Chickadee nest box near the feeders for them to use as a shelter this winter.  They’ll be snug waiting for Santa.

It’s time to close up shop for the holiday and turn on the Christmas tree lights.  I’ll make sure to  put out home-made cookies and warm milk for Santa with some oats for Rudolph and Company.  After Christmas Eve church services and a customary drive throughout the town to admire home decorations, there will be time to relax in front of the fire with a cup of eggnog.  Then I’ll drift off treasuring those long-ago family traditions like Christmas Eve at grandmother’s house.  Your reminiscence of those traditions makes you smile, too, doesn’t it?

MERRY CHRISTMAS!
XO

“God bless us every one!” said Tiny Tim, the last of all.
   ~ from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

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